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Solomon Islands votes in election watched by China, US

17/4/2024 17:56
        The Solomon Islands voted in a parliamentary election on Wednesday, the first since Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare struck a security pact with China in 2022 and drew the Pacific Islands nation closer to Beijing.
        
        The election outcome will be closely watched by the United States, China and Australia for its potential impact on U.S.-China rivalry in the Pacific. Opposition parties say voters are focused on struggling health services, education and inadequate roads.
        
        Sogavare switched diplomatic ties from Taiwan to Beijing soon after becoming prime minister in 2019, and has pledged to strengthen relations with China, which is building ports, roads and a telecommunications network in the Solomon Islands.
        
        His opponents have criticised the security pact with China, which has a police presence on the islands. Australia has traditionally been the biggest aid donor and security partner.
        



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